Hello to the friends and family of this year’s ACIC IYIP interns!
Believe me, I know how you feel.
You were probably sitting at home, maybe drinking a nice glass of lemonade, when your loved one called you, shrieked at you or simply looked down on their phone and burst into tears beside you. Of course, your natural instinct was to call a doctor. But, you cleverly waited a few seconds to make the initial diagnosis, after evaluating ALL of the evidence. What you witnessed is the “I got the news” syndrome, whose symptoms spread rapidly to you, resulting in the brewing of a strange mix of emotions.
Firstly, you felt ecstatic that you were able to share a pure moment of joy with someone you truly care about. Then, utterly depressed at the realization that the person you care so dearly about, has decided that the thing that will make them the happiest, is to get as far away as possible from you for the next 6-8 months. Later, you felt intrigued by the thought that perhaps this will finally give you an excuse to visit the country whose capital you’ve never been able to pronounce. Lastly, you felt a confusing sense of resignation combined with peace. You came to the realization that your friend or loved one has been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in a stretching experience that will lead them to try new foods, pay the consequences for trying new foods, learn continually, and find a socially conscious life path. You may find comfort in knowing that us interns have felt all those things and more.
Finally getting through that strange mix of emotions after spending a week together, I feel I’ve become an expert on all things 2015-2016 ACIC IYIP cohort-related. When I’ve felt intimidated, overwhelmed or sad to be away from all of you, I’ve reminded myself to be inspired by the people around me.
Inspiration helps me to gain perspective, focus on reasons to be grateful, and find purpose especially when life is challenging. Thank you for lending me your loved ones, allowing me to bask in inspiration.
Here are five reasons to be inspired by this lovely bunch :
1. They are compassionate.
During our week together, there have been several instances in which conversations have lead to dream sharing. By the end of these conversations, there is an overwhelming sense that the collective desire of this group is to be a part of making their communities or their world a better place using their skills and talents. When Aaron talks about his interest in using his economics background to one day influence Canadian national and foreign policy or when Chriti-Anna talks about returning to Nigeria to use her talents for the development of her home country, I am inspired. When Lucian dreams about contributing to the sustainable stewardship of Nova Scotia’s forests, or when Danielle advocates for the strengthening of health care delivery systems worldwide, I am inspired.
2. They are committed to learning.
This cohort takes each confusing, stretching moment and commits to accepting these experiences as teaching moments. When long hours of anti-oppression training begin to wear thin, I am inspired by Rachel’s unquenched thirst for understanding power dynamics by asking questions that dig deeper. When Carolle and Shannon step out boldly looking for new and challenging experiences, I am inspired. When Eric, bursts with excitement in sharing a new bit of knowledge he read the night before regarding thunder dragons, I am inspired.
3. They are humble.
Despite the group’s intimidating list of credits, these interns have approached this opportunity with a great sense of humility. What has impressed me so much is the genuine interest that each person has in the perspectives and ideas of their fellow colleagues. When speaking to Mathura, there is a sense that she hangs on each word, open to receiving information and making it her own. When Valerie speaks about the contribution she hopes to make and her words relay a great deal of deference for the people and places she will serve, I am inspired. When Emily shares her heart to work in the world putting kindness, respect and generosity at the forefront of her interactions, I am inspired.
4. They are innovative.
This group is full of young people that are comfortable thinking out the box. They work best when they are given space for creativity. When Joe wanders through the world, navigating diverse people and cultures with a commitment to applying his talents and skills to solve real problems, I am inspired. When Shawnee passionately shares the importance of building community-based development approaches on strong relationships, I am inspired. When Grace engages her mind, hands and heart together to create positive spaces, or when Laura finds interesting ways to utilize community assets in sustainable ways, I am inspired.
5. They strive for excellence.
This program draws people that set out to do things well, in intention and in action. When Sarah carefully outlines the steps it will take to ensure that her work meets a high standard, or when Gabrielle sets goals that challenge her and make room for her to make a positive impact, I am inspired. When Nicole critically participates in meaningful discussions drawing on rich descriptions, or when Isabelle thoughtfully considers her contributions ensuring her words create a lasting impact, I am inspired.
I am honoured and grateful to be a part of this outstanding group of young people. I am deeply inspired by them, and you should be too!
Stay tuned to stay inspired.
Joy will be working with Genuine Progress Index (GPI) Atlantic in partnership with the Bhutan Youth Development Fund as a Youth Research Facilitator. She’s from St. Catharines, Ontario but has recently been adding Toronto, Cairo, and Phnom Penh to her list of places that feel like home.